SOUTH PINES, NC – Australian Minji Lee won the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open at the Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club on Sunday, shooting a 71-par in the final to finish 13-under of the tournament and earning another five. Stroke wins. Big win for his career.
Lee’s victory earned her a 8 1.8 million salary as part of a record $ 10 million purse at the US Open – the largest in women’s golf history.
“I mean, I’m amazed,” Lee said at the 18th Green after picking up the trophy. “I always wanted to win and now I’ve done it.”
Twenty-one years after his teammate Carrie Webb of Australia won the US Open at the same venue, Lee maintained her four-shot lead after three rounds, beating out 32-year-old American Mina Harige, who never went this week. Ranked 2nd in Major’s Top-10 and 9-Under.
On Saturday, Lee said she exchanged texts with Webb, who had 2001 Cady Jason Gilroyd at Pine Needles. Gilroyd was also in the bag for Lee this weekend, but as Lee said, the course has changed over the years that there was no natural benefit in staying with him.
Leela set the distance for the success of Pine Needles. On both Saturday and Sunday, Lee was consistently 30, 40, even 50 yards or more. Lee said she’s been working harder at the gym lately, which has helped her gradually increase her swing speed, resulting in longer drives.
“Obviously, if you have a small club, you can be a little more aggressive,” Lee said Saturday, effectively expecting a total of 67 on the third day and a similar story on Sunday. “But it doesn’t matter how far I can hit it because the second shot is important.”
Although she was not the most accurate on the field on Sunday, Lee’s consistent length allowed her to get strokes with her approach shots. She finished in the top five in the competition’s regulated greens and in the top-10 in the strokes on Approach, Around the Green and Putting. After 72 holes, Lee was no doubt the best player on the field.
Lee, 26, won his first major title at the Evian Championships in France last July, overcoming a seven-stroke deficit and defeating South Korea’s Jeongyun Lee 6 in the first hole of the Sudden Death Playoff. Lee has achieved two major positions in his career – the British Open in 2020 and the ANA inspiration in 2017. His best before the tournament was 11th at the 2017 US Open.
At the Women’s PGA Championships at the Congressional Country Club in Washington D.C. later this month, Lee will try to become the first player to win back-to-back majors after winning the first three majors of 2013.
World number two Nellie Corda (2-under) finished eighth in the first competition after undergoing surgery for a blood clot in her left arm. South Korea’s Jin Young Ko is ranked fourth in the 6-under, while Lydia Ko, ranked 3rd in the world, is ranked fifth in the 5-under.